Table of Contents

  1. How to Effectively Locate Federal Government Information on the Web
  2. The Web for Documents Librarians
  3. Washington on the Web: Federal Depository Libraries Go Electronic
  4. Senate Hearing on Declassification
  5. Interagency Appeals Panel Votes to Declassify Agency Records
  6. Census 2000 Update: Congress Grapples with Sampling Controversy
  7. FCC Votes Unanimously to Implement Telecommunications Discounts for Libraries and Schools
  8. Congressional Hearings on Public Access to Government Information
  9. USIA Declassifying Thousands of U.S. Government Documents
  10. Governments Strive to Keep Lid on the Net
  11. Another 2000 Census Update
  12. Susan Tulis's Report on Godort Activities at ALA 1997
  13. Will CRS Reports Become Available Over the Internet?

(1) How to Effectively Locate Federal Government Information on the Web
A Paper Presented at The Universe at Your Fingertips: Continuing Web Education
April 25, 1997, University Center, University of California, Santa Barbara

Patricia Cruse
Government Information Librarian
University of California, San Diego

Sherry DeDecker
U.S. Documents Librarian
University of California, Santa Barbara

Information from the U. S. Government is appearing with increasing frequency on the Internet. In many cases the Internet is the only place to locate important government information. Virtually all agencies now maintain their own web pages, on which are linked statistical data, news releases and other full-text publications. As time passes, more data will be in online format rather than standard print sources. In the future, searching the Web will become the primary means of locating government data.

This "hands-on" workshop is designed to demonstrate how to maximize retrieval of federal government information on the Web. Instruction on the best strategies for searching the major online sources will include:

In addition, analysis and discussion of some of the major issues associated with government information in an electronic environment will be explored.

An annotated bibliography of sources will be provided.

Read this paper. | Review other papers delivered at Conference.

Back to table of contents

(2) The Web for Documents Librarians
A Paper Presented at The Universe at Your Fingertips: Continuing Web Education
April 25, 1997, University Center, University of California, Santa Barbara

Jerry Breeze
Head, Documents Service Center
Lehman Library
Columbia University

Jane Cramer
Documents Librarian
Brooklyn College Library

David Hellman
Documents Librarian
New York University

The presenters will offer a tour of both well-established and "beginning" documents web sites, to see the variety of approaches and levels of complexity that currently exist. We will discuss the various factors which influence the size and complexity of a site: purpose, staffing, equipment, connectivity, expertise. We will take a look at some sites which are useful in the operation of a documents collection, both official government sites and sites created by documents librarians themselves in response to a particular need. Finally, we will look at a number of print tools and web sites which serve as resources for building a web site and determining its content.

Read this paper | Review other papers delivered at Conference.

Back to table of contents

(3) Washington on the Web: Federal Depository Libraries Go Electronic

David Hellman has put a copy of an article that was originally printed in his campus' computing magazine on the web. Although the article was written in the fall of 1996, you may still enjoy reading this example of local publicity. To read the article, click

Source: David Hellman, Documents Librarian, Depository #390B, Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, New York University, E-mail:, Voice: (212) 998-2662, Fax: (212) 995-4070, Web Site:; GOVDOC-L, April 30, 1997.

Back to table of contents

(4) Senate Hearing on Declassification

On May 7 Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, held a hearing to consider the recent report of the Congressionally mandated Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, chaired by Senator Patrick Moynihan (D-NY). Senator John Glenn (D-OH), the ranking minority member of the committee, was the only other member of the Committee attending the hearing. The unanimous report, the result of two years of investigation, sharply criticized existing practices that involve excessive secrecy. The hearing included testimony from two panels. The first was composed of the four Congressional members of the Commission -- Senators Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) and Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Representatives Larry Combest (R-TX) and Lee Hamilton (D-IN). The second was made up of Lawrence Eagleburger, former Secretary of State, David Wise, an author who has written extensively on intelligence matters, and Alden Munson of Litton Industries.

The Congressional panel members emphasized that secrecy is an essential component of U.S. foreign policy but that only information that is necessary to prevent a threat to the U.S. should be classified. Hamilton asserted that currently much information is classified to protect national security officials from embarrassment or to prevent inquiries. Moynihan stressed that so much secrecy inhibits needed debates on policy issues and compartmentalization of information often means that other agencies and policy makers who need access to essential information do not have access to it. All of the Congressional panel members concurred with the Commission's recommendation that called for the enactment of a statute to establish the principles on which federal classification and declassification programs should be based. National security information policy is currently established by executive order; however, the report makes the case that a law would improve the functioning and implementation of the classification and declassification system. Moynihan noted that in 1996 the direct costs of our secrecy system was $5.2 billion and Hamilton discussed the lack of accountability and oversight of the current system.

The second panel's discussion, following a summary of their prepared remarks, focused on the prevalence of leaked information appearing on the front pages of newspapers. Wise said that he would oppose legislation because it could have the possible consequence of criminalizing leaks -- not only those who leak but also those who published leaks may face criminal charges. He feared the legislation would move the nation closer to the British system of an official secrets act and further away from our own first amendment rights. Unfortunately the lengthy panel discussion on leaks did not make the needed distinction between recent information and old, historical records nor did it make the point that the sensitivity of documents diminishes with time.

The "Government Secrecy Act of 1997" was introduced later in the day by Moynihan and Helms in the Senate and Combest and Hamilton in the House. Numbers have yet not been assigned to these bills, which are very brief and provide only a framework. Clearly this is just a very initial beginning toward the enactment of a law. The bills do include a balancing test whereby the benefit from public disclosure of information will be weighed against the need for initial or continued protection of information. The legislation states that "if there is significant doubt as to whether the information requires such protection, it shall not be classified." Considerable authority for classification decisions would remain with agency heads and many other aspects of the legislation conform to the current policies of Executive Order 12958. However, unlike the executive order, which set 25 years as the target for all but the most sensitive information to be declassified, the bills adopt a 30 year time frame.

The provision in the bill for a National Declassification Center to be established within an existing agency to coordinate and oversee policies and practices was the subject of some discussion. Moynihan stated on the Jim Lehrer Newshour on May 7 that the National Archives would probably be the agency where the Center would be located. However, it is unclear if the Archives is interested in this new role and some who are close to this issue question whether the National Archives could adequately handle this additional responsibility.

[Note: NCC invites you to redistribute the NCC Washington Updates. A complete backfile of these reports is maintained by H-Net at

Source: NCC Washington Update, vol. 3, # 18, May 8, 1997, by Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, e-mail address:

Back to table of contents

(5) Interagency Appeals Panel Votes to Declassify Agency Records

The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), established by President Clinton's Executive Order 12958 on classification and declassification policy, has as one of its key functions to decide on appeals by parties whose requests for declassification of information under the "mandatory review" provisions of the Order have been denied by the classifying agency. When documents are denied under the Freedom of Information Act, however, the appeals are handled through the courts and not ISCAP. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roslyn A. Mazer serves as the Chair of ISCAP which is made up of representatives from the Departments of State and Defense, the CIA, the National Security Council, and the National Archives.

Since it began meeting in May, 1996, ISCAP has considered 34 documents totaling approximately 5,000 pages. Of these ISCAP voted to declassify 27 documents in full, to declassify significant portions of six others, and to retain the agency's classification action fully for only one document. The declassified documents deal with such matters as: Secretary of State Kissinger's 1974 memorandum critiquing the Washington Energy Conference; a 1947 Air Technical Intelligence report describing in detail the military airplanes and missiles being developed by other nations; 1966-67 documents pertaining to trilateral negotiations among the United Kingdom, West Germany and the United States regarding the levels and costs of troop deployment in West Germany; and four annual National Security Council "progress reports" from the 1950s on United States policy towards South Asia.

Since there is a tendency for agency declassifies to keep records closed, ISCAP is serving an important role in providing review of classification decisions by government specialists outside the individual agencies. Although ISCAP hasn't dealt with many documents, its positions on releasing previously classified material will hopefully nudge agencies toward a more open posture.

Source: Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History ,, NCC Washington Update, Vol. 3, No. 35, August 21, 1997.

Back to table of contents

(6) Census 2000 Update: Congress Grapples with Sampling Controversy

The controversy over the use of sampling in the 2000 census took on a new dimension in early May, as the Republican leadership in Congress sent a letter to Census Bureau Director Marty Riche, indicating their opposition to any sampling that would affect the population numbers used for reapportionment.

The May 7 letter, signed by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Senate Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles (R-OK), House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), and House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), was sent the same day that the Senate approved a bipartisan compromise to let the Census Bureau continue to develop sampling methods for 2000, as long as none of its decisions were "irreversible." However, the relationship between the letter and the legislative provision on sampling adopted by the Senate is unclear.

The Republican leaders said they are concerned that the Bureau has "misunder[stood] [c]ongressional priorities" in planning for the 2000 census, and they set forth three principles that "comprise the congressional mandate for Census 2000" to guide the Bureau as it finalizes plans for 2000: increased accuracy, constitutionality, and adequate funding. "[W]e must physically count each and every American," the leaders wrote, in order to achieve the "level of accuracy we expect." The Bureau should not use "statistical schemes" that "compromise accuracy for the sake of economy," the letter continued, arguing that voters would be disenfranchised through "statistical guessing." The leaders also expressed concern about the accuracy of census counts at the tract and block level if sampling is employed. The letter also stated that there would be an "unacceptable risk" that the census would be declared unconstitutional and contrary to the law, since the Supreme Court has not ruled directly on whether sampling is allowed. The Members also chastised the Bureau for "cutting corners in order to save money," and said that there should be sufficient funding for a census that meets the Constitutional mandate of "actual enumeration."

Dr. Riche responded to the Republican leaders in a May 8 letter, saying that the Bureau is on the "right path" toward achieving the goal of an accurate census that meets Constitutional requirements. She pointed out that contrary to the assertion in the leaders' letter that "the 1990 census was the most accurate in history," that count was, in fact, the first one to be less accurate than the previous census. Dr. Riche also noted that the Department of Justice under the Carter, Bush, and Clinton administrations, as well as every Federal court that has addressed the issue, have concluded that both the Constitution and the law permit sampling in the census. With regard to census costs, Dr. Riche referred to a National Academy of Sciences panel finding that additional funding for a census using traditional methods alone would not improve accuracy.

Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reported today that Speaker Gingrich has changed his position on the census sampling issue. In an April 1991 letter to then-Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher, Gingrich urged an adjustment of the census based on sampling methods to correct for an estimated undercount of 300,000 people in Georgia. Gingrich said that without an adjustment, "minority voting strength in Georgia will be seriously diluted." Roll Call also reported that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee (which oversees the Commerce Department, but not Census Bureau activities specifically), said in a letter last week to Rep. J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), chairman of the House census oversight subcommittee, that he supports sampling in the census.

In response, Members of Congress and census stakeholder groups have scheduled a press conference for May 13th to discuss their support for the Bureau's plans to use sampling to improve the accuracy of the census. Stakeholder groups wishing to participate should call Ingrid Duran, with the National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials (NALEO), at (202) 546-2536.

In a related development, the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice, of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, has postponed its hearing to review the census long form, originally scheduled for May 13. A new date has not yet been announced.

Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at (202) 326-5287. Please feel free to circulate this information to colleagues and other interested individuals.

Source: SDC-L (State Data Center Listserv) via Beverly Railsback, New Jersey State Library, Trenton, N. J. 08625-0520; E-mail:; Phone: (609) 292-6259; Fax: (609) 984-7900; DOX-NJ, May 14, 1997.

Back to table of contents

(7) FCC Votes Unanimously to Implement Telecommunications Discounts for Libraries and Schools

FCC Votes Unanimously to Implement Telecommunications Discounts for Libraries and Schools On May 7, 1997, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously on a rule to implement discounted telecommunications services to libraries and schools. The full text of the FCC rule is now available from the FCC website. The FCC announced that the rule substantially followed the recommendations of the Federal-State Joint Board made last November. On May 12, 1997, the FCC published a myths and facts document regarding the rule titled, "The FCC's Universal Service and Access Reform Decisions."

This ruling provides discounts of 20-90% for eligible libraries, with deeper discounts going to libraries in low-income and high-cost communities. The discounts will provide up to $2.25 billion per year in support to schools and libraries. The discounts apply to a broad range of services and service providers, allowing libraries and schools to choose those services which best meet their unique needs. The discounts apply to traditional telecommunications, such as telephone and leased lines, as well as to more advanced services, such as Internet service and inside connections.

What's Next

Barring challenges to this rule, library and school discounts will be available beginning January 1, 1998. An interim universal service fund administrator has been named, but will need time to set up policies and procedures before collecting and distributing the discounts. A final decision on an interim universal service fund administrator is expected by the end of the month. In addition, states must harmonize their state universal service policies to be compatible with the federal rule.

Relevance to Libraries

ALA has played an active role, both as a strong supporter of the passage of Snowe-Kerrey-Rockefeller-Exon (SKRE) amendment to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which provide for discounted rates and in its participation in the FCC proceedings to implement SKRE. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 recognized the important role libraries play as instruments of universal service by providing equal access to specialized telecommunications and information services to their community. It is now up to state level public utilities commissions to implement state-level programs in order to allow their libraries to take advantage of the benefits of these universal service discounts.

For more information, consult

Back to table of contents

(8) Congressional Hearings on Public Access to Government Information

Francis J. Buckley, Jr., ALA Committee on Legislation and chair of the Inter-association Working Group on government information policy, testified on May 8 before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on proposed revisions to the law governing government printing, dissemination, and the Federal Depository Library Program. ALA President-elect Barbara Ford had been scheduled to testify, but was unavailable when the hearing was postponed from April 30. During the hearing, Committee Chair Sen. John Warner (R-VA) announced a third hearing later this month to which several federal agencies will be invited.

The hearing focused on a draft bill, "Government Printing Office Act of 1997." The proposal was developed by the staff of the Joint Committee on Printing, also chaired by Sen. Warner. The draft is the latest proposal to revise parts of Title 44 of the United States Code, and will be revised following the hearings and introduced. University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University staff have created a Web version of the draft bill (as it was presented on April 14), linking it to relevant parts of the U.S. Code at

Sen. Warner chaired the first part of the hearing, and then turned the gavel over to Sen. Wendell Ford (D-KY), ranking member of the Committee. Both Senators, and in fact, every witness, said they were in favor of strengthening the Federal Depository Library Program. Sen. Ford was both direct and impassioned in questioning Sally Katzen of the Office of Management and Budget about compliance issues, and was quite critical of the practices of the National Technical Information Service. The Department of Justice representative, Richard Shiffrin, was concerned only about the constitutional issues, and believes that any government operational function--such as printing--should be performed in the executive branch.

Buckley said that the library organizations he represented strongly support three of the draft bill's objectives: to strengthen the FDLP; to ensure that government information created at taxpayer expense remains in the public domain; and to ensure that agencies comply with the statutory requirements to provide government information to the public through depository libraries. On the proposal's fourth objective of addressing the Constitutional separation of powers issue by transferring the Government Printing Office to the executive branch, he said that, "We in the library community are not convinced that GPO cannot constitutionally function as an agency located in the legislative branch."

Ben Cooper of the Printing Industries of America supported a centralized printing procurement agency. Ronald Dunn of the Information Industries Association supported the FDLP and government information in the public domain, unfettered by copyright or copyright-like restrictions. He said that IIA has not taken an official position regarding the transfer of GPO to the executive branch.

Sen. Warner convened the first hearing on the draft bill on April 24 with these witnesses: Public Printer Michael DiMario; George Lord, Chairman of GPO's Joint Council of Unions; William Boarman, President of the Printing, Publishing and Media Workers Sector of the Communications Workers of America; and Judge Royce Lamberth, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

After stating his support for the Title 44 revision objectives that Sen. Warner is pursuing, DiMario said his most important concern is with the proposal to transfer GPO to the executive branch. He believes that the transfer of JCP authorities to the Public Printer, who would exercise them as a Presidential appointee, would resolve the problem of constitutionality regarding congressional control over executive branch printing. Boarman expressed his support for the overriding goals of "the protection of the public's access to taxpayer-funded information and the assurance of maximum taxpayer benefit by virtue of an efficiently managed centralized printing and document procurement system."

DiMario added that while the unions have other concerns related to the reform of Title 44, their overriding concern begins and ends with the premise that the GPO should be placed under executive branch control as a "so-called independent government agency." Judge Lamberth said that the judiciary believes its information procurement process should remain independent of GPO and executive branch control, and that creating a new executive agency, with the authorities as described, potentially challenges the judiciary's independence.

Also on May 8, the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, chaired by Rep. Steve Horn (R-CA), held a hearing on the Government Printing Office and Executive Branch information dissemination. Robert Oakley, Director of the Law Library at Georgetown University Law Center, testified on behalf of six library organizations including ALA. Oakley stressed users needs both print and electronic formats, and the need for a strong, centralized, coordinated program for efficient and effective access to government information. The text of Oakley's statement can be found at

Note: The testimony of Francis Buckley (for Barbara Ford), Bob Oakley, Michael DiMario, and Gary Ruskin are available through the "Resources of Use to Government Documents Page" [].

Source: ALAWON, Vol. 6, No. 34, May 13, 1997.

Back to table of contents

(9) USIA Declassifying Thousands of U.S. Government Documents

The United States Information Agency (USIA) has unveiled a new Web site that provides the results of the Agency's effort to declassify thousands of classified government documents, demonstrating USIA's proactive approach to declassification. Ultimately, USIA will review more than 21 million pages of documents.

The Web site is but one of a number of ways that USIA is complying with Executive Order 12958 issued by President Clinton in April 1995. The Order outlines procedures for safeguarding, classifying, and declassifying national security information and is intended to reduce the amount of classified information, reduce the period of time that information is classified, and reduce barriers to declassifying information. The Order also requires agencies to facilitate public electronic access to declassified documents.

As a result of the Order, USIA established a Declassification Unit, part of the Office of the General Counsel's office, in 1996 to carry out the President's mandate. Since then, the Declassification Unit has declassified approximately one-fifth of the Agency's documents that were held in controlled storage because they contained classified national security information. The deadline for review and declassification of nearly all federal documents created before 1976 is April 2000.

All of USIA's declassified historical records shown on this Web site are stored at the Washington National Records Center in Suitland, Md. As additional documents are reviewed and declassified, new records will be added to the site. The release of specific documents will be determined by the Agency after it receives a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Requests should be addressed to the FOIA unit in USIA's Office of the General Counsel at 301 4th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20547.

The Declassification Unit's Web address is

To access the address, Web users should highlight the word Declassification on USIA's Home Page in order to bring up the Declassification Unit's pages. These pages enable users to search for declassified records via a user- friendly database. The search is guided by a keyword table of topics accessed from the individual declassified documents. The pages also offer brief descriptions of the Declassification Unit, its mission and its operations and serve to alert the public to information no longer classified and now available for release, a key goal of USIA's declassification effort.

USIA's Web site includes the most up-to-date listing of USIA's declassified records because the information comes directly from the Declassification Unit's database. Agency declassifiers enter research information about newly declassified materials in this database which is linked to USIA's Web site. Moreover, information about newly-declassified USIA materials will be posted on the Web site shortly after review by the Declassification Unit.

The Web site provides descriptive and bibliographic data about declassified documents promptly and at low cost to the Agency and to the American taxpayer with minimal privacy or security concerns. Journalists, historians, and the general public are encouraged to visit the USIA Web site to learn more about USIA's Declassification Unit and discover how technology is helps create a more transparent government.

The USIA Web site is a follow-on activity to a government-wide conference on declassification of federal documents, hosted by USIA in December 1996, that also included the CIA, the National Security Agency, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy.

For more information about USIA's declassification project, contact Ben Cromer; E-mail:; Phone: (202) 619-6144; Fax: (202) 619-6988.

Source: News Release No. 035-97; Carol Coon, GOVDOC-L, May 16, 1997.

Back to table of contents

(10) Governments Strive to Keep Lid on the Net

If Daniel Ellsberg were to release the Pentagon Papers today, he probably would do it on the Net.

And this time, there would be very little anyone could do about it.

That's what British officials learned last week when four journalists defied a government ban and posted a suppressed report about ritual child abuse to their Web site. The journalists knew they would probably get in trouble for it but they did it anyway. By releasing the report on the Net, they planted a seed that bloomed literally overnight.

When documents are released over the Net, it's virtually impossible to get them off again. That's why journalists and private citizens from around the globe are increasingly bypassing newspapers, magazines and other printed materials that can be confiscated and destroyed, and instead opting to mount Web sites.

But as the number of embarrassing leaks increase, governments are starting to wonder what can be done about it.

"If you want to get news out, put it on the Web and spread the rumor that they're going to censor it. Then people like me will go and mirror it," said Peter Younger, who teaches computing and the law for Case Western Reserve University School of Law, referring to the practice of creating mirror copies of Web sites.

That's exactly what happened when the British journalists put the child abuse report on their site.

When the Nottinghamshire government came after them, ordering them to take down the report, they complied, but it was too late.

There is no shortage of examples of Web sites circumventing information bans: French Web sites ignored laws prohibiting the publication of exit polls and released survey information on the Web that predicted the outcome of the legislative elections. Last year, the independent Belgrade radio station B92 turned to the Net after Serbian officials shut down its radio station in an government crackdown on free speech.

But now, examples of government counter-moves are starting to emerge as well.

In the British case, the journalists who originally released the report now face legal penalties, including possible jail time, for violating the ban.

The government is also going after others who either have picked up the report or who are linking to it.

The government has threatened legal action for copyright infringement against Jeremy Freeman, a 21-year-old Canadian student and network engineer, for creating a mirror site of the original report and for linking to another mirror site.

In Germany, a 25-year-old politician is on trial for linking to the "guerilla" homepage, Radikal, after the publication defied government orders and posted instructions on how to sabotage railway lines, a tactic of antinuclear protesters.

Governments can still punish the perpetrators--if they can find them--but they can't get the genie back into the bottle.

Where newspapers that published controversial materials in the past could be legally restrained from actually going to the press, those barriers don't exist on the Net, said David Banisar, staff council for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Prior restraint, at least among Net-equipped countries is dead," he said. Of course, he adds, "punishment can still happen after the fact."

And as the Nottinghamshire government in the United Kingdom demonstrated, reaching across country borders is nearly impossible.

"All governments should recognize that the Internet is a global medium in which national laws have little useful effect. Top-down censorship efforts...constitute a direct assault on the rights and other interests of Internet users and service providers in other jurisdictions, not subject to the censorship law in question," said Yaman Yaman Akeniz, the head of United Kingdom civil liberties group, Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties.

But governments are still slowly trying to figure out how to regain control over information they think the public doesn't need to know.

"Governments are responding," Banisar said. "Some are responding quite badly."


  • Peter Younger:
  • Report:
  • Site:
  • Radikal:
  • Electronic Privacy Information Center:
  • Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties: Source: John Walker,, Lawsrc-l, June 11, 1997.

    Back to table of contents

    (11) Another 2000 Census Update

    While the Census Bureau works to prepare a report to Congress by mid-July on its plans for the 2000 count, stakeholders are moving forward on several fronts to educate lawmakers and their own constituencies about the importance of an accurate and comprehensive census.

    With the House appropriations panel poised to consider fiscal year 1998 funding for the Census Bureau after the July 4th congressional recess, stakeholders are contacting legislators in support of adequate funding for 2000 census activities, continued collection of data on the census `long form,' and a plan that will produce the most accurate and fair census possible. Several Republican members of the House census oversight committee have been quoted as saying that a ban on sampling and statistical methods will be included in the Commerce, Justice, State and The Judiciary Appropriations bill for FY98, which is tentatively scheduled for subcommittee `mark-up' on July 9. The spending bill also could include language to reduce the amount of data collected or to `decouple' the long form from the census altogether. The Congressional Caucus on the Census, chaired by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Christopher Shays (R-CT), is working on ways to highlight the importance of an accurate and comprehensive census, possibly including a press conference with stakeholder groups.

    Meanwhile, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, described in The Washington Times newspaper as an "Atlanta-based public-interest law firm," announced that it would file a lawsuit to prevent the Census Bureau from using sampling or statistical methods that affect the population counts. The foundation's president, Matthew Glavin, said that because the Constitution gives Congress authority over the census, the sampling ban attached to the version of the flood relief bill that President Clinton vetoed amounted to a clear expression of congressional intent. Article I, section 2, of the Constitution, provides that a census will be taken every ten years "in such Manner as they [Congress] shall by Law direct." The version of the flood relief bill that contained the strict sampling ban, of course, never became law because of a veto, which neither the House nor Senate tried to override. Article I, section 7, of the Constitution, describes the process by which a bill becomes a law. Interestingly, Foundation lawyers concede that the Constitution's requirement for an "actual enumeration" does not preclude the use of sampling methods. The Foundation said it would file suit if the Census Bureau's report to Congress indicates that it will move forward with its plans to use sampling in 2000. Committee roster change: There have been two temporary changes in the Republican roster on the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. Senators Ted Stevens (AK) and William Roth (DE), both former chairmen of the committee, have temporarily resigned from the panel. They have been replaced, in the following order at the end of the Republican roster, by: Sen. Robert C. Smith (NH) and Sen. Robert Bennett (UT).

    Executive Branch news: This week, Census Bureau Director Marty Riche will begin the "Summer 1997 Partnership Tour" to promote local involvement in the census and highlight the importance of an accurate count. Beginning in Atlanta on June 30, the tour will continue through August 21, stopping in St. Louis, New Brunswick/Newark (NJ), Philadelphia, Hartford (CT), Portland (ME), Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Dallas, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Rochester (NY). For information on the tour schedule and program, or if your organization would like to participate, please call the Census 2000 Publicity Office at (301) 457-2000.

    Stakeholder activities: The 2000 Census Advisory Committee to the Secretary of Commerce held its quarterly meeting on May 30. Census Bureau and OMB staff provided an update on the review of racial and ethnic categories used in Federal data collection activities. The Bureau will host a meeting on July 10 for all of its advisory committees (professional, race/ethnic, and 2000 census) to discuss the race/ethnic questions proposed for the 1998 Census Dress Rehearsal. The Bureau will then publish those questions in the Federal Register, with public comment due by early September. OMB will publish its own notice in early July, seeking public comment on the recommendations of its Interagency task force for changes, if any, to the current racial and ethnic categories. Comments will be due by the end of August; OMB will announce its final decision in mid-October.

    The Advisory Committee also received a brief from senior decennial census staff on the status of 2000 census preparations. The Bureau will begin hiring significant numbers of temporary workers in 1999, to help compile address lists for rural areas. Local Census Offices will begin hiring in late 1999 and open in early 2000. Bureau officials also stressed the importance of adequate funding next year (FY98), when the Dress Rehearsal will take place. For 2000, the Bureau estimates that the cost of the census will rise by $675 - $800 million if sampling and statistical procedures are banned, without any promise of improving accuracy.

    Congressional staff joined the Advisory Committee for the second half of its meeting, prompting a spirited and sometimes heated discussion over the Bureau's plans to use sampling in the census. Staff representing House oversight subcommittee Chairman Dennis Hastert (R-IL) said that there is a "crisis of confidence" in the Bureau's plans, and urged the Committee to assume that Congress will prohibit the use of sampling in the 2000 census. They said they are not convinced that sampling will improve census accuracy, particularly at the block level, or reduce costs significantly. Staff representing Sen. John Glenn (D-OH), the senior Democratic on the oversight committee, said that the Senate is still open to the possibility of sampling and wants to review further evaluations of the Bureau's plans.

    In other stakeholder news, the National Governors' Association passed an interim policy resolution in support of maintaining the long form as part of the census; the full organization may formally adopt the resolution later this summer. The American Library Association's Council approved a resolution in February 1997, urging Congress to appropriate sufficient funding for the 2000 census to ensure the continued collection of useful demographic, social, and economic data. ALA also supports public access to census data, at no cost, through Federal Depository Libraries.

    With many organizations holding annual conferences during the summer months, census stakeholders are stepping up their efforts to educate their own constituencies about the Census Bureau's plans for 2000 and key policy issues affecting the outcome of the count. The National Association of Counties has planned a session on the census for its July conference in Baltimore, while the National Conference of State Legislatures will do the same in Philadelphia in August.

    Important housekeeping note: Census 2000 Initiative project consultant, TerriAnn Lowenthal, may be reached at a new telephone number: (202) 434-8756. Her fax number will remain the same: (202) 737-2055. Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at (202) 434-8756. Please feel free to circulate this information to colleagues and other interested individuals.

    Source: SDC-L (State Data Center Listserv) via Beverly Railsback, New Jersey State Library, Trenton, N. J. 08625-0520; E-mail:; Phone: (609) 292-6259; Fax: (609) 984-7900; DOX-NJ, June 30, 1997.

    Back to table of contents

    (12) Susan Tulis's Report on Godort Activities at ALA 1997

    What could be better than San Francisco in June? I can think of one thing - San Francisco in June without a broken foot! Despite my recent injury, I managed to hobble off to as many GODORT events as I could and summarize them here. As always, feel free to forward this report to those you think would be interested and direct any questions to me.

    Saturday morning began with the Federal Documents Task Force Federal Update. Public Printer MIKE DIMARIO began the morning by saying that he thought we would find that GPO is moving along dramatically by trying to be responsive the library community and make things better for all of us. DIMARIO then outlined ongoing legislative issues. The Joint Committee on Printing and the Senate Rules Committee have been undertaking some legislative activity with OMB. There have been ongoing discussions, draft documents, and the stated intention of having a draft bill out some time around July 4th. DIMARIO did note that discussions have not taken place on the House side despite the intention to have a bipartisan, bicameral bill. GPO has commented on various draft bills, as well as responded to specific questions, such as how to modernize procurement and the printing and binding regulations. DIMARIO feels that even though there is talk of legislation coming out soon, it is still very unsettled, and GPO will react to the legislation as part of the continuing process.

    With respect to GPO's appropriation, the House mark-up is completed. The House Appropriations Committee is talking about level funding which amounts to a cut of $11M for GPO. GPO is to offset this reduction in their funding request by taking the $11M from its revolving fund - something GPO has already been doing in years past when they were under funded. The final outcome will not be know until the request goes through the Senate and then the inevitable conference.

    JAY YOUNG, Director of Library Programs Service (LPS), began by talking about the growing trend of transferring Federal government information from the public domain to private ownership, which is what happened with the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) when ownership was transferred from the NCI to Oxford University Press. After many inquiries, in late May, the Director of NCI responded saying that NCI and Oxford University Press would be "delighted to continue to provide copies for the Depository libraries." GPO responded to the NCI Director advising of the number of copies needed and where to ship them. However, GPO has yet to receive any of the issues, nor are their calls being returned.

    Is this a victory? Well, in certain respects it is, since GPO assumes that copies will ultimately get into the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). But it took the intervention of the JCP and Senator Warner. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have said they were glad that NIH was taken to task on this. But, the question remains, if OMB felt that what NIH did was wrong, then why didn't OMB take action?

    Unfortunately, agencies are probably going to make arrangements with private entities if that will help defray their own costs. GPO hopes that new legislation will assist with this problem and has proposed the following language be placed in the law: "No component of the Government may delegate or contract exclusively for the storage, reproduction, or dissemination of Government information without providing in advance for public and depository library access at no cost through the Superintendent of Documents. Components which establish agreements with non-Federal Government entities through which copyright or copyright-like restrictions are imposed on Government information, shall provide depository libraries with access to the full content of that information at no cost."

    The June 15th issue of Administrative Notes included a report called "Fugitive Documents: Scope and Solutions," produced by GPO staff. GPO estimates that more than 50% of all tangible Government information products (the majority being some 55,000 scientific and technical documents and reports) are not made available to the FDLP. If these sci-tech documents had been in paper format, GPO (and libraries) probably couldn't have handled them. But there may be an electronic solution that will bring this body of material into the FDLP for the first time. Sandy Schwalb is working with NTIS staff and with Linda Kennedy (UC-Davis) on a "pre-pilot" project to enable depositories to have access to NTIS' electronic image files at no cost.

    With regard to appropriations for the FDLP, GPO requested $30.5 million for the Salaries and Expenses appropriation of the Superintendent of Documents. The House has funded GPO at $29.3 million - which GPO feels will allow them to continue the traditional distribution and move forward with the electronic transition. GPO is suppose to estimate what the impact of the electronic transition would be when it submits its FY 1999 budget request this coming December. GPO's planning involves the assumption that expenses associated with acquiring and shipping printed products, which have decreased, will be stabilizing. They are assuming that the costs for funding no-charge use of the GPO Access services for depository libraries and the general public will increase, since GPO Access is clearly becoming a primary delivery vehicle for the FDLP. Also, there are new costs associated with providing locator services to electronic information, government-wide.

    Another area where cost will increase is for ensuring permanent public access to electronic information. One of Duncan Aldrich's (GPO's visiting Expert Consultant on the Electronic Transition Staff) most important contributions has been a white paper examining GPO's role in creating a permanent online collection. The paper is titled, "Managing the GPO Access Collection: Permanent Access to Electronic Government Information Products." [Paper will appear in an upcoming issue of Administrative Notes.] The primary finding of the report is that "GPO should manage the various electronic Government information products made permanently accessible via GPO Access as a library like collection" and that "any planning for GPO Access storage should be done in the context of a GPO Collection Plan." LPS will be taking the lead in establishing a collection plan for managing the growing body of digital publications accessible on GPO Access. The plan will delineate policies and procedures for the Permanent Online collection and will clarify responsibilities within GPO for collection management. Additionally, the Public Printer has also agreed in principle to establishing a "collections development manager" position in the LPS.

    Important to the permanent access program, is the question of standards, which is why in December 1996 an interagency agreement between GPO and NCLIS was established to conduct an "Assessment of Standards for the Creation, Dissemination, and Permanent Accessibility of Electronic Government Information Products." The National Research Council has been selected to participate throughout the project and produce a framework document and a Statement of Work - a first draft of which was due out momentarily.

    A great deal is going on at this time to revise Title 44, with the driving factor being to make changes to Chapter 19 which authorizes the FDLP. A key goal is to deal with the issue of permanent access to electronic government information. All of the expressed goals are favorable to the FDLP, but GPO has some concerns about the execution, such as moving GPO to the Executive Branch. Recently there has been discussion going on concerning the possibility of decentralization of printing procurement. A main reason that the FDLP has worked as well as it has is that agencies have been required to come through GPO to procure their printing and GPO has been able to add depository copies to the printing requisitions. There is now talk of a number of agencies in the Executive Branch which would be designated to procure printing for other agencies instead of one procurement activity. Instead of relying on GPO as the central point for collection of documents for the program, there would now have to be a new system based on notification. GPO's concern is that the greater the decentralization, the more complicated the process will be to obtain depository copies and the more it will cost. In addition, notification will be difficult to administer.

    However, technology may make such a decentralized process work. If a procurement order had to have one section completed by SuDocs before it could proceed, then SuDocs could specify the number of copies to be delivered for the FDLP, the Sales Program, the International Exchange Program, and the Bylaw Program. This could be accomplished by electronic submission of the required forms to SuDocs by each printing procurement activity. GPO feels that the best guarantee against "fugitive" documents is including SuDocs in the printing procurement process. Asking publishers for notification, legislating penalties, requiring reimbursement for the cost of reprinting, creating and publishing lists of missing product, or protesting contract may all be ineffective and will certainly be very expensive to administer. Clearly this only works for tangible information products. For electronic information made available by computer over a telecommunications network, notification is still needed when an agency initiates, modifies, or terminates an information product.

    PAM POWELL-HILL, Census Bureau, spoke about the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) which replaces the Standard Industrial Classification System (SIC). [For more information, see The SIC hasn't been revised substantially since it was designed in the 1930's - when our nation was a manufacturing nation. NAICS, a cooperative program between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, restructures industries into sectors, subsectors, industry groups, and industries. It assigns 6-digit codes rather than 4-digit codes, identifies new industries, and realigns and updates old industries. NAICS is based on a single economic concept and SIC is based on several economic concepts. NAICS focuses on new and emerging industries and industries using new technologies. Another major difference is compatibility with Canada and Mexico.

    Some key decisions made for NAICS include creating the information sector (which includes information and data processing as well as libraries); establishing the computer and electronic product manufacturing subsector; combining restaurants and accommodations to form a new sector; redefining of wholesale/retail trade; reorganizing of the old "services" division to now be 8-10 categories; restructuring the finance area; and changing the way auxiliaries are classified - it is by activities now.

    The first data with NAICS codes will be from the 1997 Economic Censuses and be released in early 1999. Other statistical agencies will implement NAICS as their programs permit between 1997 and 2004.

    The April 9, 1997 Federal Register has the entire classification system (without the definitions) plus comparison tables from the 1987 SIC to NAICS and NAICS to the old SIC.

    RICHARD HUFFINE, EPA, talked about the future of the EPA web site, starting with a summary of what is currently out there. At present there are over 100,000 data files in approximately 150 separate accounts. These files cover brochures to full reports. The focus of their web site is "EPA Information" and being a source of the information, not just pointing to it. The information is owned and managed by the issuing program offices with the subject expertise. EPA is grappling with the access issue - 8-10 million "hits" per month can cause a time delay. A positive aspect is the ongoing participation by high-level staff to develop the Internet presence as a tool for communicating Agency policy and perspective to the public.

    The future is enhanced public access. EPA is working with the National Performance Review to create consolidated gateways to information; classification of resources for intended audiences; abstracts of resources to facilitate searching and identification; thesaurus development to bridge technical terminology and common language; use of technologies to facilitate participation in the regulatory process; and further availability of policy and guidance documents to support compliance and encourage excellence in environmental protection.

    In terms of specifics for the future - EPA has 5 goals. 1) Cataloging web resources - to provide multiple access points for a variety of formats; develop and use a hierarchical thesaurus that generates used-for terms, categorization, and consistent terminology; implementation of site management tools that keep the site accurate, current, and relevant; and combining computer-generated indexing and metadata provision to optimize the user experience.

    2) One stop shopping - classification of resources by user level, starting with who are you, what level do you want to work with, to help break out of the organizational box; categorization and evaluation of linkages to external sources of information (a problem for the federal government); and provision of access to multiple formats and locations including electronic, print, and archival collections.

    3) Push technologies - streaming information directly based on identified need through profiling. The technology is evolving and practicality is being realized; current technologies for listserv service could be supplemented by new Internet-based technologies; and diversified approach so that we aren't leaving out users without Internet access.

    4) Simplified information creation - information creation that doesn't require special knowledge; access to material previously unavailable to everyone but defined as public information; up to the minute access to information through dynamically created Internet materials.

    5) Better government - use of technology to facilitate citizen involvement, understanding, and oversight of government. We also want direct access to materials for as many people around the world; want to be source of definitive data and information that is reliable, relevant, and current; and a complement to other paths of information.

    HUFFINE concluded with a discussion of the recent GILS evaluation done under a GSA contract with involvement by OMB. The tentative GILS evaluation findings are that GILS was seen as attempting to be "all things to all people," that the focus of GILS will probably be tightened through a decrease in the records management related requirements; and the role of GILS and Internet technologies may be further defined. He feels that the strengths of the EPA GILS are the collection of the publicly available information systems within the EPA; their listing includes hot lines, clearinghouses, models, libraries, etc.; feedback method in place to assist the public in finding answers; demonstrated use of metadata for description and access.

    GIL BALDWIN, Library Division Chief, titled his talk "inventing the wheel." He was quick to point out that this was not REinventing the wheel, because many of the challenges of the electronic transition are being overcome for the first time. GPO's commitment to ensure permanent access to electronic Government information has been the subject of several meetings with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), where their respective roles are refined and GPO's and the depository community's interests are kept visible. When GPO talks to NARA two goals are emphasized; the "two stands" - standards and standing.

    Standards refers to GPO's goal of coordinating common interests in matters such as encouraging uniform standards for electronic information. This goal may be advanced by the "Assessment of Standards" project underway with NCLIS. NARA is interested in this as well, and one of the outcomes BALDWIN hopes for is to have NARA and GPO cooperate on a set of standards for electronic information which facilitate both preservation and access.

    When talking with other agencies about permanent access issues for electronic information, often times confusion exists about what GPO's trying to accomplish relative to the National Archives' mission. "Preservation of electronic information - we thought NARA did that!" Standing refers to gaining recognition for the legitimate role of the FDLP in ensuring permanent public access. GPO has proposed that the Archives provide them with guidelines permitting GPO to become a "NARA Affiliate" for some of the core content of GPO Access, most likely the Federal Register, a NARA title. This would mean that NARA would not have to duplicate the storage of these official electronic documents. NARA plans to establish "affiliates" to assist in the permanent storage of the nation's vast accumulation of records and documents.

    NARA is concerned, however, about the proposed definition of "Government Information" contained in draft versions of the Title 44 revision legislation. The issue is that the proposed Depository Library definition could be read by some as duplicating the much larger universe of information which falls under the mission of the Archives. Rather than changing the Title 44 definition, Dr. Bellardo, Deputy Archivist, suggests adding the following disclaimer to the bill: "Nothing in this bill shall abridge the statutory responsibilities and authorities of the Archivist of the United States or the National Archives and Records Administration." This disclaimer satisfies both GPO and the Archives, and GPO will continue to work on the FDLP piece of the Government information universe: Publications and their electronic equivalents.

    With little fanfare and no announcement on its Web site, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) decided to offer free access to its database, Internet Grateful Med, which includes MEDLINE. NLM has stated that: "The Internet Grateful Med (IGM) will be going completely free--with no registration required--in the very near future. IGM has the advantage of providing access to several other NLM databases in addition to MEDLINE." GPO is now providing a link from its Browse Electronic Titles page (located on GPO Access) to the NLM site called PubMed. Although this page says that it is NLM's "experimental" search service, GPO staff has been informed that it is now fully operational and is a permanent free service to access MEDLINE and its back files. This is a significant move by NLM and provides the depository program with free access to this popular database.

    The Department of Energy microfiche program ceased at the end of fiscal year 1996, at which point GPO began to receive this material in electronic image format at the rate of 12,000-15,000 titles per year. Several alternatives to make the electronic version available were investigated by GPO staff. It was revealed in March that the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) was working on an electronic dissemination program of their own called "DOE's Information Bridge." It will link the bibliographic data of DOE reports to the image and the material will be fully searchable, user-friendly and include both easy and advanced search capabilities. GPO was told that, barring any unforeseen developments, the site could be available to the depository community by the end of calendar year 1997. That schedule is still on track.

    This project is significant in that DOE will allow depositories to access their electronic files through GPO Access. GPO and OSTI staff members are currently working to put together an Interagency Agreement to accomplish this. GPO will be providing funds to DOE for their developmental and start-up costs as they work to ensure access to depositories.

    LPS has been discussing with the Dept. of Education ways to move to electronic dissemination of Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) titles presently distributed in microfiche. ERIC is building an electronic system which uses TIFF image files of their reports, accessed through a bibliographic file, but this system is not ready for GPO to "point" depositories to. An agreement in principle has been reached on a pilot project partnership between ERIC, OCLC, and GPO, under which OCLC would maintain and make available to depositories the public domain ERIC reports. LPS anticipates a one-year pilot project, probably getting underway next January, which should provide valuable information concerning usage, costs, and other issues relevant to archiving electronic information.

    This results of this project will assist LPS in making a careful transition to electronic formats, and LPS has decided that a parallel distribution in microfiche format will be continued through FY 1998. It will also fulfill GPO's commitment to OCLC to identify a body of current Government information to be included in their series of electronic archiving pilot projects. GPO is very pleased to have been able to bring the parties together for this initiative, and feel confident that it will be of long-term value to the FDLP libraries.

    BALDWIN publicly thanked Duncan Aldrich for all of his efforts and advice to GPO. Aldrich did a terrific job in representing the depository community interests in the electronic transition, and in calmly and carefully educating GPO on how things play in Nevada. His vision of how the GPO Access resources can be managed as a library like collection is one of those "light-bulb" kind of ideas. Once you hear it, it's so obvious. How come we had to bring somebody all the way across the country to tell us that?

    In addition, BALDWIN spoke highly of Sandy Schwalb's work in the discussions with the Dept. Of Energy and the NCLIS Assessment of Standards project. Schwalb's one-year term is also running out. As BALDWIN phrased it, "Sandy's been great at keeping up with all the players - she's such a baseball fan she brought her own score card."

    GPO is planning on at least one more year's worth of the outside the beltway view to help them in the electronic transition. George Barnum from Case Western Reserve University will be joining GPO hopefully in July. If you are interested in a position at LPS be sure to let one of them know.

    The "Core Documents of U.S. Democracy," a basic electronic depository collection, one which will provide direct online access to the essential documents that define our democratic society is now available for free, permanent, public access via the GPO Access service and other selected Government sites. []

    BALDWIN concluded by announcing that The Roswell Report: Case Closed, the companion piece to the 1994 volume, The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert, was embargoed by the Air Force until the 50th anniversary of the Roswell incident. It is now being shipped to all depositories which select item number 0424 as soon as its available.

    TC EVANS, Electronic Information Dissemination Services, gave an update on activities within his area. Even though GPO has made progress in terms of response time on GPO Access, they will continue to seek additional improvements. This will not be an easy process as the popularity and awareness of GPO's site continues to grow, as does the amount of information available through it. A new edition of the GPO Access training booklet is out and has already been sent to depository libraries. It is also available on the web in both ASCII and PDF. Summary files of GAO Reports have been added to GPO Access. A new page which provides technical information for gateways (or anyone needing the information) is now available. One such page is a comprehensive list of databases and where they reside. A new Congressional page which better organizes committee information has been created. GPO plans to add an index to this page for those who don't know what committee handles what subject. CFR volumes are added weekly to GPO Access. A comprehensive search facility has been added to the GILS page which will search all legit GILS sites, not just those residing on GPO Access. A "Get Doc" feature has been added which allows you to point or link directly to a document on GPO Access if you have your own web site. Committee hearings are being added as they become available in electronic source files. An interim House Rules Manual is now available - prior to the release of an updated paper version.

    In terms of the future, GPO has reached agreement with OCLC networks to expand opportunities for GPO Access training. GPO will be training their trainers. Justification for a GPO Access learning facility has been completed and hopefully the next step is construction of a state-of-the-art facility where librarians and can learn in a hands on manner how to better utilize GPO Access and the other applications available.

    JAN FRYER, Depository Library Council, encouraged all to attend the Fall Council meeting, announced the appointment of a large working group to draft guidelines for services in an electronic environment in a depository library, and that the ad hoc group on statistics is trying to tackle the issues and problems surrounding the biennial survey.

    LINDA KENNEDY, UC-Davis, spoke about the pre-pilot project currently underway between NTIS and UC-Davis. UC-Davis depository library staff use NTIS' OrderNow Online to identify and submit orders for documents available in image format. For requested documents, NTIS prepares a TIFF image file and FTPs it to UC-Davis, who then converts the files to PDF format for viewing and printing.

    Some issues that have resulted from the project to date: 1) identified that both old and new documents can be requested and re-requested; 2) figured out a way to identify those documents that are available in an image format so that searches can be limited to those reports available electronically; 3) developed a way to automatically request reports; 4) NTIS now says that individuals may download reports for personal use; and 5) the need for a mechanism to order older documents.

    Additions to this pilot project will be staggered and NTIS has asked GPO to select which depository libraries will be added. If you are interested, let GPO or NTIS know.

    BONNIE TRIVIZAS, Production Services, gave a demo of the pre-alpha version of GPO Phase II software (OpenText). As many were aware, this has been in the planning and procurement stages for years - since 1991.

    Odds and Ends

  • Final version of GPO's "Recommended Specifications for Public Access Work Stations in Federal Depository Libraries" appeared in the June 15th issue of Administrative Notes. Also available at:
  • Distribution of the bound U.S. Congressional Serial Set to all selecting depositories will continue until the bound volumes are produced for the 105th Congress.
  • Depository libraries will receive the official CIA World Factbook in print format for both 1996 and 1997. (1996 will be delivered as soon as produced; 1997 expected in September.)
  • LPS is negotiating with NIMA (formerly the Defense Mapping Agency) to make distribution of NIMA products directly from LPS, with standard classification and shipping list procedures. Copies of the Vmap Level 0, formerly known as the Digital Chart of the World, will be sent to depository libraries this summer.
  • The Center for Research Libraries State Documents Task Force has been asked to develop a plan for the dispersion of the 1950-1990 portion of the collection to appropriate and interested bodies. The State and Local Documents Task Force will assist in efforts to place the collection and make it accessible through links on the CRL web page.
  • GODORT Legislation brought one resolution forward for endorsement - "Resolution in Support of the Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy." It asked that ALA endorse in principle the "Goals for Revising U.S.C. Title 44 to Enhance Public Access to Federal Government Information" (May 1997) and affirm the inter-association process.

    Source: Susan E. Tulis, University of Virginia, Law School Library, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903; Phone: (804) 924-3504; Fax: (804) 982-2232; E-mail:, GOVDOC-L, July 10, 1997.

    Back to table of contents

    (13) Will CRS Reports Become Available Over the Internet?

    Gary Ruskin, Director, Congressional Accountability Project, James Love, Director, Consumer Project on Technology, Lori Fena, Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Shabbir J. Safdar, Co-founder, Voters Telecommunications Watch, Audrie Krause, Executive Director, NetAction, Lucinda Sikes, Staff Attorney, Public Citizen Litigation Group, and Kim Alexander, Executive Director, California Voter Foundation have all petitioned House Oversight Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman John Warner (R-VA) urging them to place CRS products on the Internet. In addition, they have requested support from others in a letter writing campaign with a July 29th deadline.

    According to their petition, "On June 5, 1997, CRS Director Daniel Mulhollan boasted in testimony to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch that "the CRS Home Page makes available online exclusively to congressional offices all CRS issue briefs and numerous reports....Through our Home Page the Congress has integrated access to a wide range of products and information. This service is now readily accessible electronically to Members and staff 24 hours a day." But not to citizens.

    Nothing in the statutory charter of the CRS, or any other federal law or House or Senate rule, prevents Congress from placing these CRS products on the Internet. No change in federal law, nor House nor Senate Rule is required to place CRS products on the Internet. Neither the Joint Committee on the Library, nor the Senate Rules Committee, nor the House Oversight Committee need approve placing CRS products on the Internet. This is an internal administrative matter. Both Chairman Thomas and Chairman Warner separately have the authority to place CRS products on the House and Senate World Wide Web sites.

    Although the 105th and 104th Congresses have made an effort to place some congressional documents on the Internet, many important Congressional materials are still not available on the Internet, including most committee prints and discussion drafts of bills, chairman's marks, voting records in a non-partisan database, most transcripts of hearings, financial disclosure reports, texts of committee and floor amendments, transcripts of committee mark-ups, franked mass mailings, lobbyist disclosure reports, Statements of Disbursements of the House, and Secretary of the Senate reports.

    In his House and Senate testimony, CRS Director Mulhollan highlighted the benefits that the CRS provides to new members of Congress. He noted that CRS "offer[s] assistance tailored to the unique needs of new Members." Many of those needs are for general briefing materials on substantive and procedural matters. Such briefing materials could be of great use to citizens as well. James Madison aptly described the need for such public information when he wrote that "A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives."

    The Congressional Research Service produces some of the best research in the federal government. We believe that taxpayers ought to be able to read the research that we pay for. We urge you to place these valuable CRS products -- including CRS Reports, Info Packs, Issue Briefs, and Audio Briefs -- on the Internet.

    Source: Congressional Reform Briefings, July 13, 1997.

    Back to table of contents

  • Back to RED TAPE Home Page
  • Back to Jon Harrison's Home Page
  • Back to MSU Libraries Home Page
  • Assistance Requested
    • Thanks for visiting the RED TAPE Home Page. Each issue is continuously updated and expanded during a three month cycle, so check back soon for the latest changes.

    • If you have any comments, notice any glaring inaccuracies, or would like to forward any relevant information concerning this Home Page, please send e-mail to: Jon Harrison

    Standard Disclaimers
    • MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution.

    Ownership Statement
    Jon Harrison : Page Editor
    Social Science Reference Librarian
    Social Sciences and Humanities Reference
    Michigan State University Libraries
    100 Library
    E. Lansing, MI 48824-1048
    Voice mail: (517) 432-6123, ext. 123
    Last revised 09/11/97

    This page has been visited times since June 1, 1996.